One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

16th-19th November

Shostakovich 4, 11 Nelsons
Transparent Granite!

Nothing but Praise

BrucKner 4 Nelsons
the finest of recent years.

superb BD-A sound

This is a wonderful set

Telemann continues to amaze

A superb disc

Performances to cherish

An extraordinary disc.

rush out and buy this

I favour above all the others

Frank Martin - Exemplary accounts

Asrael Symphony
A major addition

Another Bacewicz winner

match any I’ve heard

An outstanding centenary collection

personable, tuneful, approachable

a very fine Brahms symphony cycle.

music that will be new to most people

telling, tough, thoughtful, emotionally fleet and powerfully recorded

hitherto unrecorded Latvian music


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers


Jimmy LEE
The Empty Room
The Ballerina [6.08]
The Empty Room [7.45]
Home for Christmas [5.20]
Journey’s End [5.48]
Guards Chapel Orchestra/Major Craig Hallatt (arranger)
rec. Guards Chapel, Wellington Barracks, London, 2016
JIMMY LEE JL105 [25.18]

Jimmy Lee is a new name to me, but he is well-known in folk music circles, and, on the evidence of this CD, someone with an interesting musical voice. An unsettled background (taken into care at four, ten homes and eleven schools) led to enlistment in the Royal Navy. His reputation rests largely on his work as a folk-singer and composer, but this is his first CD for conventional classical forces. The works on it were premiered at the Conway Hall in London on July 12th 2016. The orchestra was the one on this disc, a relatively new organization. Despite the military connections, this is an orchestra, not a military band.

The music in these four short pieces is instantly attractive, with some lush string melodies and good tunes and interesting touches. Orchestrations are imaginative. The Ballerina refers to the ballerina on a music box, dancing aimlessly and sadly. The Empty Room is based on a vision or dream of the composer’s grandfather’s house, with photographs of various family members killed in the two world wars. There is a sense of loss and gratitude, but there are also angry moments. Home for Christmas is based on childhood memories, a mixture of nostalgia and celebration. The final piece, Journey’s End is, as the title implies, about a return from a long voyage to a place of peace and harmony.

The music perhaps should be seen as in the tradition of British light orchestral music, as attractive mood pieces, with clarity, nothing to offend and much to please. Performances are attractive.

Overall, then, this is very enjoyable but not an essential purchase. The particular problem is the very short running time, even by popular standards. As the CD retails at mid-price, this could concern potential buyers.

Michael Wilkinson



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Senior Editor
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger